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Title:
ATTACHABLE CART SYSTEM AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/210493
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cart is disclosed which is capable of being wheeled to a vehicle and mounted thereon through a mount secure coupling attached to the cart and a secure receiver attached to the vehicle. Upon secure attachment to the vehicle, the carts undercarriage assembly including wheels are capable of being retracted into the top deck assembly of the cart. Therefore, the vehicle maintains clearance from the road even after the cart is attached. Upon reaching a destination, the undercarriage of the cart is lowered and the cart is detached from the vehicle. The cart is then able to be wheeled away. The cart allows for transportation of loads without the need for the operator to actually carry either the load or the cart at any stage from start to finish or perform any additional steps to safe and securely attach the cart to the vehicle

Inventors:
CAMARCO, Kenneth (6 Wide Horizons Drive, Colts Neck, NJ, 07722, US)
ALBERT, Jonathan (1038 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19123, US)
CHANG, Eric (5301 Fox Run Drive, Plainsboro, NJ, 08536, US)
Application Number:
US2017/035559
Publication Date:
December 07, 2017
Filing Date:
June 01, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
C5 ENTERPRISES, LLC (6 Wide Horizons Drive, Colts Neck, NJ, 07722, US)
CAMARCO, Kenneth (6 Wide Horizons Drive, Colts Neck, NJ, 07722, US)
ALBERT, Jonathan (1038 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19123, US)
CHANG, Eric (5301 Fox Run Drive, Plainsboro, NJ, 08536, US)
International Classes:
B62B1/12; B60B1/00; B60R9/06; B62B1/10; B62B3/00; B62B3/02; B62B5/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HORGAN, Christopher, J. (ROARK IP, 1438 Dahlia LoopSan Jose, CA, 95126, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1 . A cart and mount secure coupling and receiver system comprising:

a cart including:

a top deck assembly having a carrying portion, a mount secure coupling and a secure coupling lock assembly;

an undercarriage assembly capable of supporting and adjusting the height of the top deck assembly so that the mount secure coupling is capable of being attached to a secure receiver by the engagement of both the mount secure coupling and the Secure coupling lock assembly.

2. The system of claim 1 , wherein the secure receiver comprises:

at least one retention tine slot capable of receiving a corresponding at least one mount secure coupling top tine;

at least one lower tine reception slot capable of receiving a corresponding at least one mount secure coupling lower tine; and

an opening capable of receiving a latch bolt.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein the at least one mount secure coupling top tine may be self-aligning and self-seating into the at least one upper tine retention slot of the secure receiver.

4. The system of claim 2, wherein the secure coupling lock comprises:

a secure coupling lock latch bolt capable of being retracted by the secure receiver and projected by a secure coupling lock latch bolt spring into the opening.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein the secure coupling lock assembly further comprises: an axle lock trigger capable of being deflected by the secure receiver as the mount secure coupling lowers into position whereupon the axle lock trigger pulls an axle lock trigger cable.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein the undercarriage assembly further comprises:

a pair of scissor arms coupled to a hydraulic cylinder pump and capable of being extended and retracted to adjust the height of the top deck assembly corresponding to a change in pressure in the hydraulic cylinder pump.

7. The system of claim 6, wherein the top deck assembly further comprises:

a hydraulic pump release lever capable of changing pressure in the hydraulic cylinder pump to retract the pair of scissor arms to lower the top deck assembly.

8. The system of claim 7, wherein the undercarriage assembly further comprises:

a hydraulic pump foot pedal capable of changing pressure in the hydraulic cylinder pump to extend the pair of scissor arms to raise the top deck assembly.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein the undercarriage assembly further comprises:

first and second stow axles running substantially parallel the length of the undercarriage assembly wherein the first and second stow axles have a pair of front wheels and a pair of back wheels.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein upon activation, the axle lock trigger cable is capable of operating a pair of axle locking mechanisms to unlock the first and second stow axles allowing the front wheels and back wheels to rotate upward and inward into the undercarriage assembly.

1 1 . The system of claim 5, wherein the undercarriage assembly further comprises: a pair of scissor arms coupled to a linear actuator and capable of being raised or lowered to adjust the height of the top deck assembly.

12. The system of claim 1 , further comprising:

a release lever coupled to a connecting rod which traverses substantially a width of the cart and is capable of locking and unlocking the secure coupling lock assembly.

13. A method of coupling a cart to a secure receiver:

the cart is placed in position with a mount secure coupling mounted on a top deck assembly of the cart substantially aligned with the secure receiver;

a hydraulic pump foot pedal coupled to a hydraulic cylinder pump in an undercarriage assembly of the cart receives pumps from a operator to elevate the mount secure coupling above the secure receiver; and

a hydraulic release lever is activated to release pressure in the hydraulic cylinder pump to lower the mount secure coupling onto the secure receiver and cause the undercarriage assembly to rise.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the mount secure coupling has a plurality of top tines which descend into the upper tine retention slots of the secure receiver and a plurality of lower tines which descend into lower tine reception slots of the secure receiver during mounting.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein during mounting, a latch bolt of a secure coupling lock assembly of the cart is pressured out by a spring to slide along the face of the secure receiver and into place inside an opening on the secure receiver to secure the cart from coming out of the secure receiver.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising: during coupling, as the cart descends on the secure receiver, an axle lock trigger housed behind the mount secure coupling and underneath the top tines is pushed up which pulls an axle lock trigger cable.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising:

upon activation, the axle lock trigger cable pulls axle locking mechanisms through a splitter which retracts a pair of axle locking mechanism's pins and allows a pair of stow axles to rotate in their respective axle bearing mounts.

18. The method of claim 13, further comprising:

during raising of the undercarriage assembly, return springs connected to the undercarriage assembly lift the undercarriage assembly up and retracted it underneath the top deck assembly; and

axle locking mechanism pins are retracted and stow axles rotate inside axle bearings and a bottom surface of the top deck assembly contacts the axle rotation cam providing a force to rotate the stow axles and connected wheels inward and underneath the top deck assembly.

19. A method of decoupling a cart from a secure receiver:

a lever is activated to unlock a secure coupling lock assembly through a connecting rod extending a width of a top deck assembly which pulls a latch bolt out of an opening of the secure receiver and allow the cart to rise above the secure receiver; force is received by a hydraulic pump foot pedal to deploy the undercarriage assembly and components of the undercarriage assembly including an axle rotation cams, the stow axles and a plurality of wheels will rotate; and

an axle lock trigger and wheel locking pins will reset to locked and prohibit the stow axles from rotating when an undercarriage assembly including the plurality of wheels are extended and the axle lock trigger is no longer deflected by the secure receiver.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising:

a mount secure coupling of the top deck assembly loses contact with the secure receiver as the top tines and lower tines of the mount secure coupling rise above the secure receiver; and

the cart is released with the undercarriage assembly fully extended.

Description:
ATTACHABLE CART SYSTEM AND METHOD

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001 ] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/344,436, filed June 2, 2016 which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0002] The present disclosure relates to carts and, more particularly, it relates to mechanisms for attaching a cart to a vehicle.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0003] Several types of collapsible and foldable carts for transporting articles or goods have been utilized in the past. Generally, these types of foldable carts are used by home owners for transporting of groceries, packages, luggage, duffle bags, ski equipment, sports gear, musical equipment, and the like. Some of these may have a capability to work at multiple heights as well. These foldable, and/or adjustable height carts are also implemented for commercial and light industry usage in the transporting of in process goods, finished products, tools and construction equipment and the like.

SUMMARY

[0004] Aspects of the disclosure include a cart and mount secure coupling and receiver system comprising: a cart including: a top deck assembly having a carrying portion, a mount secure coupling and a Secure coupling lock assembly; an undercarriage assembly capable of supporting and adjusting the height of the top deck assembly so that the mount secure coupling is capable of being attached to a secure receiver by the engagement of both the mount secure coupling and the Secure coupling lock assembly.

[0005] Further aspects of the disclosure include a method of coupling a cart to a secure receiver: the cart is placed in position with a mount secure coupling mounted on a top deck assembly of the cart substantially aligned with the secure receiver; a hydraulic pump foot pedal coupled to a hydraulic cylinder pump in an undercarriage assembly of the cart receives pumps from a operator to elevate the mount secure coupling above the secure receiver; and a hydraulic release lever is activated to release pressure in the hydraulic cylinder pump to lower the mount secure coupling onto the secure receiver and cause the undercarriage assembly to rise.

[0006] Further aspects of the disclosure include a secure receiver comprising: at least one retention tine slot capable of receiving a corresponding at least one mount secure coupling top tine; at least one lower tine reception slot capable of receiving a

corresponding at least one mount secure coupling lower tine; and an opening capable of receiving a latch bolt.

[0007] Further aspects of the disclosure include a secure receiver comprising: a plurality of retention tine slots capable of receiving a corresponding plurality of mount secure coupling top tines; a plurality of lower tine reception slots capable of receiving a corresponding plurality of mount secure coupling lower tines; and at least one opening capable of receiving a latch bolt. The plurality of mount secure coupling top tines may be self-aligning and self-seating into upper tine retention slots of the secure receiver.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] Aspects of the embodiments of this disclosure are illustrated by way of example. While various details of one or more techniques are described herein, other techniques are also possible. In some instances, well-known structures and devices are shown in block diagram form in order to facilitate describing various techniques. A further understanding of the nature and advantages of examples provided by the disclosure can be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification and the drawings, wherein like reference numerals are used throughout several drawings to refer to similar components.

[0009] Figure 1 is a perspective view of the cart 100 from the side facing an operator when the cart is being mounted onto a vehicle (i.e., the "operator side" 102). The cart 100 is shown in upright mode with undercarriage assembly scissors extended and wheels locked out. [0010] Figure 2 is a perspective view of the cart 100 from the side facing the vehicle during mounting (i.e., the "vehicle side" 104).

[001 1 ] Figure 3 is an elongated (or lengthwise) view of the cart 100 from the vehicle side 104.

[0012] Figure 4 is a side view of the cart 100 from the handle side.

[0013] Figure 5 is a top view of the cart 100 showing deck 122 upon which a load may be placed.

[0014] Figure 6A is a perspective view of a top deck assembly of the cart 100 and Figure 6B shows a typical load 120 which may be a fully enclosed cargo box or a cover over the deck 122.

[0015] Figure 7 A is a perspective view of the handle of the cart 100 before activation of hydraulic pump release lever 1 18 and Figure 7B is a perspective view of the handle of the cart 100 after activation of lever 1 18.

[0016] Figure 8 is a detailed perspective view of the secure coupling lock release lever 1 1 1 of the secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 shown in a locked position.

[0017] Figure 9 is an exploded view of the components of the top deck assembly.

[0018] Figure 10 is a perspective view of the mount secure coupling 140 assembly.

[0019] Figure 1 1 is a perspective view of the undercarriage assembly 107 of the cart 100 without the top deck assembly 106 shown.

[0020] Figure 12 is an exploded view of the parts making up the undercarriage assembly of the cart 100.

[0021 ] Figure 13 is a cross-sectional view of the top deck assembly 106 of the cart 100 showing how the secure coupling lock lever assembly 1 10 is coupled through a secure coupling lock connecting rod which runs the width of the cart 100 from the operator side 102 to the vehicle side 104 to control operation of a secure coupling lock assembly 202.

[0022] Figure 14 is a perspective detailed exploded view of the components of a secure coupling lock assembly 202.

[0023] Figure 15 is a perspective of a vehicle mounted (or trailer mounted) hitch receiver 400 shown attached to a hitch receiver mounting arm & bracket 402 configured to connect to a vehicle.

[0024] Figure 16 is a perspective view of the secure receiver 500.

[0025] Figure 17 is a perspective view of a standard load bar adjustable extender 406.

[0026] Figure 18 is a perspective view of a secure receiver 500 assembled on a load bar adjustable extender 406.

[0027] Figure 19 is a perspective view of the secure receiver 500 assembled to the load bar adjustable extender 406 on the back of a vehicle 404.

[0028] Figures 20A-20C illustrate a side view and Figures 21 A-21 B illustrate a top view of the initial steps of coupling the cart 100 onto a vehicle 404 and turning the cart 100 into an attached carrier.

[0029] Figures 22A-22C show a detailed perspective view of the mount secure coupling 140 mounting onto the secure receiver 500.

[0030] Figures 23A-23D show a side view of the mount secure coupling 140 mounting onto the secure receiver 500 emphasizing the secure coupling lock assembly 202 locking sequence in detail.

[0031 ] Figures 24A-24C show the elements of the cart 100 involved in the

undercarriage assembly 107 retraction, stow axles 155 rotation and wheel 108, 109 folding and stowing.

[0032] Figures 25A-25E show the elements of the undercarriage assembly involved in the stow axle 155 locking mechanism, rotation and wheel 108, 109 folding and stowing.

[0033] Figures 26A-26F show the elements of the cart 100 involved in the stow axle 155 rotation and wheel 108, 109 folding and stowage with an emphasis on axle rotation and wheel stowage.

[0034] Figures 27A-27D show another view of the undercarriage assembly 107 retraction and wheel folding and stowing of the cart 100 during the mounting of the cart 100 onto the vehicle 404.

[0035] Figures 28A-28F show the deployment and lock out of the wheels 108, 109 during uncoupling of the cart 100 from the vehicle 404. [0036] Figures 29A-29E show the secure coupling lock assembly unlocking, retraction, and resetting sequence in detail.

[0037] Figures 30A-30B are cross sectional views of cart 100 and show the elements of the mount secure coupling 140 and secure receiver 500 involved in the stow axle 155 rotation and wheel 108, 109 unfolding and unstowing.

[0038] Figures 31 A-31 D illustrate a perspective view of deployment of the wheels 108, 109 during demounting of the cart 100 from the vehicle 404.

[0039] Figure 32 is bottom view of the cart 100 showing the operation of the hydraulic pump release lever 1 18, hydraulic handle cable 1 17 and axle lock trigger cable 167.

[0040] Figures 33-37 are view of an alternative embodiment of the undercarriage assembly with a linear actuator 600 powering the extension and retraction of the undercarriage assembly 107 (instead of the hydraulic cylinder pump 150).

[0041 ] Figures 38A-38D show the depression of switch 606 to lower first and second scissor arm pairs 152, 154 for the mount secure coupling 140 to dock into secure receiver 500.

[0042] Figures 39A to 39C depict the continuation of the retraction of the

undercarriage assembly 107 by power of the linear actuator 600 and folding of the wheels.

[0043] Figures 40A-40D shows depression of toggle switch to deploy undercarriage assembly 107 and wheels 108, 109.

[0044] Figures 41A-41 C show another alternative embodiment of the cart 100 with the secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 having an associated key lock 1 13 to prevent the secure coupling lock release lever 1 1 1 from leaving a locked position when the key lock 1 13 is also locked.

[0045] Figures 42A-42C shows an alternative embodiment of the secure receiver 500 with a sliding shim 700 attached directly to the load bar extender 406.

[0046] Figure 43 shows another alternative embodiment of the cart 100 which operates through manual lift on and off of the cart 100 and mount secure coupling 140 to the secure receiver 500. [0047] Figure 44A-44E show an alternative embodiment of the cart with manual wheel folding.

[0048] Figures 45A-45C illustrate an alternative embodiment of the cart 100 showing the top deck assembly 106 having a bicycle deck 123 configured to carry a load of bicycles.

[0049] Figures 46A to 46B show an alternative embodiment of the secure receiver 500 having a different configurations.

[0050] Figure 47A is a flowchart outlining the method of mounting the cart 100 to a vehicle and Figure 47B is a flowchart outlining the method of demounting the cart 100 from a vehicle.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0051 ] Typical carts permit the transport of goods up and down walkways, steep hills, across dirt trails, and the like, without causing damage to walkway surfaces, such as linoleum, tile, wood, or carpeting. However, conventional carts which have been used in the past lack convenience and versatility. For example, they require lifting of materials and/or the cart itself which limits transportability, lacks maneuverability and handling convenience for the various uses to which such carts are put in warehouses and retail establishments. The embodiments described herein address a gap in currently available material handling devices. Although there are many carts available to move materials from place to place, virtually all unpowered devices require manual "lifting" of either the payload (i.e., the carried materials, tools, resources, etc.), the cart, or both at multiple steps of the transportation process. For example, grocery shopping requires loading and unloading of the shopping cart multiple times to get the

groceries/merchandise from store shelf to the kitchen pantry in one's house. Many similar examples exist in industrial manufacturing, assembly, and logistics. Examples also exist in commercial construction and professional trades in movement of tools, materials and other resources from point of supply (store/warehouse) to job site, workbench and other points of use. For leisure, sporting events, or adventure travel the same issues exist in attempting to move necessary gear from place to place.

[0052] Figures 1 through 6B show a mobile, height adjustable and vehicle attachable cart 100 and its associate coupling mechanisms 140, 500 which are the subject of this disclosure from different viewpoints. Mount secure coupling 140 with secure receiver 500 together form a Mount Secure Coupling & Secure Receiver System for mounting and demounting the cart 100 on a vehicle. Cart 100 is capable of rolling and is steerable on retractable and stowable wheels. Figure 1 is a perspective view of mobile cart 100 from the side facing the operator when the cart is being mounted onto a vehicle (the "operator side" 102). Figure 2 is a perspective view of the cart 100 from the side facing the vehicle during mounting (the "vehicle side" 104). The cart 100 has a top deck assembly 106 and an undercarriage assembly 107 each of which are made up of numerous component parts. Figure 3 is an elongated view of the cart 100 from the vehicle side 104. Figure 4 is a side view of the cart 100 from the handle 1 16 side. In Figures 1 -4 the cart 100 is shown in upright mode with supporting scissor arm pairs 152, 154 of the undercarriage assembly 107 extended and wheels 108, 109 locked out in rolling mode of operation. Mount secure coupling 140 on the vehicle side 104 of the cart 100 allows the cart 100 to mate to a secure receiver 500 mounted (typically) on the rear of a vehicle which is configured to receive the mount secure coupling 140. (The secure receiver 500 is also a "universal coupler" or "hitch coupler" usable on any vehicle with a tow hitch which emphasizes its flexibility). The foot step configuration of the secure receiver 500 is an alternative embodiment in which the secure receiver functions as a flat surface step allowing the operator to stand on it. Figure 5 is a top view of the cart 100 showing deck 122 upon which a load may be placed.

[0053] The undercarriage assembly 107 includes a pair of front (or first) wheels 108 which may be rigid and a pair of rear (or second) wheels 109 which may swivel (e.g., caster wheels able to turn 360 degrees). Both sets of wheels 108, 109 are retractable, and rotatable inward and under the undercarriage assembly 107 to provide clearance from the ground for the cart 100 when the cart 100 is mounted on the back of a vehicle. As the vehicle travels, the cart 100 will be high enough not to bottom on a highway or catch objects underneath that are in the path of the vehicle (i.e., typically after mounting of the cart on the vehicle the wheels 108, 109 will be higher than the lowest feature of the vehicle itself like an oil pan). Secure coupling lock release lever (or secure coupling lock release handle) assembly 1 10 is shown in Figure 1 and in more detail in Figure 8. The secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 is capable of providing a way for an operator to easily unlock a secure coupling lock assembly 202 from the operator side 102 of the cart 100 to demount the cart 100 from the vehicle. The secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 is made up of a secure coupling lock release lever 1 1 1 and a secure coupling lock trim 1 12. The secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 is connected to a secure coupling lock connecting rod 200 which in turn connects to and opens a secure coupling lock assembly 202 when activated which will be discussed in detail below.

[0054] Figures 1 -4 also show a brake mechanism of the cart 100. The break mechanism may include independent caster wheel brakes, mechanical lock of wheel axle or friction on wheel itself, a multi-wheel pressure/friction bar, "deadman" brake with hand release to allow rolling, hand operated top or side wheel caliper brake and/or hand operated drum brake.

[0055] Figure 6A is a perspective view of the top deck assembly 106 of the cart 100 and Figure 6B shows the top deck assembly with a load 120. Load 120 may be a wide variety of items such as coolers, groceries, tool chests, sports equipment, and the like. In terms of weight, in some embodiments, a load 120 may typically be up to and including approximately 500 pounds. However, in alternative embodiments, the weight of the load 120 may be higher than 500 pounds depending on the strength of materials used in the cart 100 and/or the vehicle mounted hitch receiver 400. The cart 100 is shown in Figures 6A-6B with an optional guardrail 1 14 to keep load 120 in place during operation. In alternative embodiments without the guardrail 1 14, larger loads may be placed on the deck 122 of the top deck assembly 106 without the hindrance of the guardrail 1 14 and secured by other means. Figure 6B shows a typical load 120 which may be a fully enclosed cargo box or a cover over the deck 122. In alternative embodiments, the guardrail 1 14 could drop down like a tailgate. The guardrail 1 14 could also have attachment devices for attaching accessories.

[0056] Figures 1 , 6A, 7 A and 7B show handle 1 16 which may be used to push or pull the cart 100 during operation. The handle 1 16 can remain fixed in place after cart 100 is attached to a vehicle or, in an alternative embodiment, it could be folded, collapsed telescopically or otherwise stowed under the cart 100. During a mounting operation of the cart 100 to a vehicle 404, the mount secure coupling 140 of the top deck assembly 102 will be positioned by the operator near the secure receiver 500 of the vehicle 404. The cart 100 is typically maneuvered into place for mounting through the operator pushing handle 1 16 until the mount secure coupling 140 is substantially aligned with and raised over the secure receiver 500 as shown in Figures 21 A-22C which will be discussed in detail below. Handle 1 16 includes a hydraulic pump release lever 1 18 connected by a hydraulic release cable 1 17 to a hydraulic cylinder pump 150 located in the undercarriage assembly 107. When activated, the hydraulic pump release lever 1 18 lowers the mount secure coupling 140 onto secure receiver 500 by releasing pressure in the hydraulic cylinder pump 150 which controls the height of the undercarriage assembly 107 during coupling of the mount secure coupling 140 to the secure receiver 500. Figure 7A is a perspective view of the handle of the cart 100 before activation of hydraulic pump release lever 1 18. In Figure 7A, lever 1 18 is at rest with the pressure valve of the hydraulic cylinder pump 150 (shown in Figure 1 1 ) closed before activation. Figure 7B is a perspective view of the handle of the cart 100 after activation of lever 1 18. In Figure 7B with lever 1 18 activated, the pressure valve of hydraulic cylinder pump 150 is opened. Hydraulic pump release lever 1 18 may be used to lower the top deck assembly 106 (also described in detail below) while hydraulic pump foot pedal 162 may be pumped by the operator to raise the top deck assembly 106. (In an alternative embodiment, instead of a hydraulic cylinder pump 150 an electric motor and linear actuator may be used to raise and lower the top deck assembly 106 which will be discussed in connection with Figures 34-41 D). Once the cart 100 is aligned above the secure receiver 500, the operator squeezes the hydraulic pump release lever 1 18 to open the pressure valve releasing pressure in the hydraulic cylinder pump 150 and allow cart 100 to begin the mounting coupling sequence (or mount secure receiver coupling sequence) of the mount secure coupling 140 to the secure receiver 500 of the vehicle 404 (see Figures 21A-21 B). The hydraulic pump release lever 1 18 will typically be held in actuated position throughout the mounting coupling sequence process. This allows a sequence of events to unfold including the following: top tines 144 and lower tines 145 of the mount secure coupling 140 descend into the top and bottom openings respectfully in the secure receiver 500 which is attached to the vehicle; the secure coupling lock assembly 202 engages and secures the cart 100; retraction of the undercarriage assembly 107; and the axle lock trigger 146 releases stow axles 155 and folds wheels 108, 109 into an inward stowed position under the top deck assembly 106.

[0057] Figure 8 is a detailed perspective view of the secure coupling lock release lever 1 1 1 of the secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 shown in a locked position. As a failsafe measure the operator must manually pull the secure coupling release lever 1 1 1 out to release a secure coupling latch bolt 212 from the secure receiver 500 to allow the cart 100 to be lifted off the secure receiver 500 during the detaching of the cart 100 from the vehicle. The secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 will then reset for the next coupling of the cart 100 to the vehicle.

[0058] Figure 9 is an exploded view of the components of the top deck assembly 106. Deck 122 is part of top deck assembly 106 to provide support for a load 120 placed on the cart 100. Deck assembly 106 and individual components; Guardrail 1 14, handle 1 16 and deck 122 may all be made of steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, or perhaps plastic (e.g., the deck surface). In alternative embodiments the handle 1 16 could be attached to the undercarriage 107.

[0059] Figure 10 is a perspective exploded view of the mount secure coupling 140 which is attached to cart 100 and, as previously discussed, forms the cart side coupler which attaches to secure receiver 500 mounted on a vehicle 404. The mount secure coupling 140 is an assembly of components made up of a mount secure coupling plate 142 with mount secure coupling lower tines 145; a mount secure coupling top 143 with mount secure coupling top tines 144; and axle lock trigger 164. The mount secure coupling components can typically be made of strong, durable materials such as steel. The mount secure coupling top tines 144 may be self-aligning and self-seating into upper tine retention slots 508.

[0060] Figure 1 1 is a perspective view of the undercarriage assembly 107 of the cart 100 without the top deck assembly 106 shown. Figure 12 is an exploded view of the parts making up the undercarriage assembly 107. The undercarriage assembly 107 includes mechanisms to achieve extension (or lift) and retraction (or lowering) of the top deck assembly 106. Hydraulic cylinder pump 150 operates a pair of lift scissors 152, 154 for retraction and extension to allow the top deck assembly 106 to change its height. The scissors are made up of a first scissor arm pair 152 and second scissor arm pair 154. Alternative embodiments could use double/multi scissor arm pairs.

Figure 1 1 shows the cart 100 with the first scissor arm pair 152 and second scissor arm pair in full extension which would correspond to the top deck assembly 106 being at its highest height. As the top deck assembly 106 descends and mount secure coupling 140 mounts onto secure receiver 500 through mechanisms discussed below, a pair of axles capable of stowing the wheels 108, 109 (i.e., "stow axles") 155 rotate to allow the wheels 108, 109 to be lifted up and turned inward until they are fully retracted (or hidden) during the process when the cart 100 is being attached to the vehicle. A pair of subframe tracks 156 arranged substantially in parallel allow small scissor arm pair wheels 157 connected to each of the first scissor arm pair 152 and second scissor arm pair 154 to move in a substantially horizontal direction as the scissor arm pairs 152, 154 and top deck assembly 106 move through different heights during extension and retraction. A pair of return springs 158 are configured to pull the scissor arm pairs 152, 154 back into a retraction position from the extension position upon mounting of the cart 100 onto the secure receiver 500. The return springs 158 can be simple coil, gas springs or another type of tension spring configuration, including internal within the hydraulic cylinder itself. A pair of axle rotation cams 160 are connected to and rotate with the stow axles 155 to assist with the wheels 108, 109 folding inward towards the top deck assembly 106. Hydraulic pump foot pedal 162 when activated by the operator puts more pressure into the hydraulic pump cylinder 150 to allow for control of the height of the top deck assembly 106. In particular, during attachment and detachment of the cart 100 to and from the vehicle through the use of the operator's foot in a pumping action the operator can extend the scissor arm pairs 152, 154 and elevate the cart 100. As the operator approaches the back of the vehicle with the cart 100, the operator will provide force to pump the pedal 162 and raise the cart 100 so that the mount secure coupling 140 is located over the secure receiver 500 attached to the vehicle. The operator will then align the mount secure coupling 140 above the secure receiver 500 and over the upper tine retention slots 508. This allows for attachment of the mount secure coupling 140 with the secure receiver 500 as described in more detail below. Correspondingly, the operator will pump the pedal 162 when the cart 100 is attached to the vehicle to extend the scissor arm pairs 152, 154 and raise the top deck assembly 106 high enough to allow for detachment of the mount secure coupling 140 from the secure receiver 500 which also be described below in detail.

[0061 ] Figure 13 is a cross-sectional view of the top deck assembly 106 of the cart 100 showing how the secure coupling lock lever assembly 1 10 is coupled through a secure coupling lock connecting rod 200 which runs the width of the cart 100 from the operator side 102 to the vehicle side 104 to control operation of a secure coupling lock assembly 202. The secure coupling lock assembly 202 is positioned as substantially centrally located on the long side of the mount secure coupling 140. Figure 14 is a perspective detailed exploded view of the components of the secure coupling lock assembly 202. During operation, the secure coupling lock connecting rod 200 slides in and out of a secure coupling lock bracket 204 as far as permitted by secure coupling lock connecting rod stop pin 206. As a conscious failsafe measure the operator will need to manually pull the secure coupling lock release lever 1 1 1 out to retract the passive latch bolt 212 from the secure receiver 500. The passive latch bolt 212 is held back by the secure coupling locking catch (or sear) 216 to allow the cart 100 to be lifted off the secure receiver 500. Further components which make up the secure coupling lock assembly 202 and the functions of which will be described further below include the following: secure coupling lock release 208; secure coupling lock release guide pin 210; secure coupling lock latch bolt 212; secure coupling lock latch bolt pin 213; secure coupling lock latch bolt spring 214; secure coupling locking catch slot 215; secure coupling locking catch 216; secure coupling release springs 218; and secure coupling catch springs 220.

[0062] Figure 15 is a perspective of a vehicle mounted (or trailer mounted) hitch receiver 400 shown attached to a hitch receiver mounting arm & bracket 402 configured to connect to a vehicle 404. Figure 16 is a perspective view of the secure receiver 500 by itself and Figure 17 is a perspective view of a load bar adjustable extender 406. These elements 500, 406 in combination are shown in Figure 18 ready for attachment to the vehicle mounted hitch receiver 400. The load bar adjustable extender 406 can be used in an up or down orientation to adjust for varying centerline heights of the vehicle mounted hitch receiver 400. In Figure 17, the load bar adjustable extender 406 is shown in a down position. Figure 18 illustrates the secure receiver 500 mounted on the load bar adjustable extender 406 (which is in an up position). In an alternative embodiment, the secure receiver 500 and load bar adjustable extender 406 could be one integrated piece. The secure receiver 500 is shown attached to the load bar adjustable extender 406, vehicle mounted hitch receiver 400 and a vehicle 404 in Figure 19. In addition to acting as an attachment mechanism for the mount secure coupling 140 of cart 100, the secure receiver 500 may act as a foot step when configured in a step shape. This secure receiver as a step configuration would be able to support the operator's weight and enable the operator to reach into the cargo area of the vehicle, the bed of a pickup, and/or the roof of the vehicle 404.

[0063] The secure receiver 500 is a device to substantially align, safe-secure couple and lock a cart 100 to the hitch receiver 400 using mount secure coupling 140. As the cart 100 is mounted on the secure receiver 500 this mounting process will also allow for inward turning and clearance of the retracted wheels 108, 109 of the cart 100 from the ground. Referring to both Figure 10 with regard to the mount secure coupling 140 and Figure 16 secure receiver 500, has a lower flange 502 containing lower tine retention slots 504. These slots 504 receive corresponding mount secure coupling lower tines 145 of mount secure coupling 140 when the mount secure coupling 140 mates with the secure receiver 500. During coupling of the cart 100 to the vehicle, the secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 slides along the face of the secure receiver 500 and inserts itself into secure coupling lock opening 506. Upper tine retention slots 508 of secure receiver 500 receive corresponding top tines 144 of the mount secure coupling 140 upon coupling. Collectively, inserting the mount secure coupling top tines 144, mount secure coupling lower tines 145 and the secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 into their respective openings in the secure receiver 500 constrain, secure and safely lock the cart 100 to the vehicle 404 to withstand substantially all dynamic and static forces the cart 100 will encounter (i.e., shear, torsion, and rotational/torque forces) while stationary or moving across mostly any surface.

[0064] Figures 20A-20C illustrate a side view and Figures 21 A-21 B illustrate a top view of the initial steps of coupling the cart 100 onto a vehicle 404 and turning the cart 100 into an attached carrier. The cart 100 is rolled up to the vehicle 404 and the operator will then elevate the cart 100 (see arrow 163 in Figure 20B) by pumping the hydraulic pump foot pedal 162 connected to hydraulic cylinder pump 150 until the mount secure coupling 140 is raised to a height over the secure receiver 500. The operator then visually substantially aligns the mount secure coupling 140 and the mount secure coupling top tines 144 of the cart 100 with the upper tine retention slots 508 of the secure receiver 500 of the vehicle 404 as shown in Figures 21 A-21 B.

[0065] Figure 22A shows a detailed side perspective view of a cutaway section of the cart 100 with the mount secure coupling 140 located above and substantially aligned with secure receiver 500. Upon activation of the hydraulic pump release lever 1 18 on handle 1 16 to lower the top deck assembly 106 (and subsequently raise the

undercarriage assembly 107 which will be discussed in detail below), the mount secure coupling top tines 144 descend into the upper tine retention slots 508 as shown in Figure 22B. As a result, the inner radius of the top tines 144 come to rest on a radiused edge of the secure receiver 500. Simultaneously, the mount secure coupling lower tines 145 slide into the lower tine retention slots 504 of the lower flange 502 of the secure receiver 500 as shown in Figure 22C. The top tines 144 along with the contact surfaces of the secure receiver 500 and mount secure coupling 140 support the payload weight of the cart 100 and its load 120. The lower tines 145 prevent the mount secure coupling 140 from hopping or bouncing out of the secure receiver 500, in particular, in a rotational or counter rotational direction. Additionally, on descent, the secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 of the secure coupling lock assembly 202 of cart 100 (see Figure 14, 22A) is pressured (or projected) out by secure coupling lock latch bolt spring 214 to slide along the face of secure receiver 500 and into place inside the secure coupling lock opening 506 on the secure receiver 500 to secure the cart 100 from coming out of the secure receiver 500 in a substantially vertical shear direction. This allows for secure coupling locking and containment of the cart 100 on the secure receiver 500 against approximately all dynamic force directions. The structural integrity of the top deck assembly 106 and secure receiver are capable of self-supporting entirety of cart 100 and payload 120 weight.

[0066] Figures 23A-23D show the secure coupling locking system between the mount secure coupling 140 and the secure receiver 500 in a locking sequence in detail. In Figure 23A, secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 is in the unlocked latch bolt position in reset and ready to auto lock upon next descent of the top deck assembly 106 with mount secure coupling 140. In Figure 23B, the cart 100 is shown descending with mount secure coupling top tines 144 lowering into the upper tine retention slots 508 on top of secure receiver 500. In Figure 23C, secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 rides along the face of secure receiver 500 and pressurized by pushing back on Secure coupling lock latch bolt spring 213 (e.g., a compression spring) until reaching Secure coupling lock opening 506 in the secure receiver 500 where it inserts itself as shown in Figure 23D. In Figure 23D, the secure coupling lock is fully "locked" with secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 inside secure coupling lock opening 506. Cart 100 is now securely mounted and locked to secure receiver 500. [0067] Figures 24A-24C show the elements of the cart 100 involved in the retraction of the undercarriage assembly 107, rotation of stow axles 155 and folding and stowing of wheels 108, 109. As shown in Figures 24A and 24B, as the cart 100 descends on the secure receiver 500, an axle lock trigger 164 which is housed behind mount secure coupling 140 and underneath top tines 144 is pushed back and rotated about the shoulder bolt that holds it within its bracket and also acts as an axis pivot (as shown by arrow 169 in Figure 24B). This rotation action of the axle lock trigger 164 pulls the axle lock trigger cable 167 back (as shown by arrow 173 in Figure 24B). The axle lock trigger 167 is connected to both axle locking mechanisms 168 through axle lock 1 -into-2 cable splitter 165 (see Figure 32) which retracts the duality of axle locking mechanism's axle lock release block 166 (see Figure 26F) and allows the stow axles 155 to rotate in their respective axle bearing mounts 172. Figure 24C shows the axle rotation cams 160 operation of which will be discussed below.

[0068] Figures 25A-25E show operation of the elements of the undercarriage assembly 107 involved in the rotation of the stow axles 155 and the folding inward and stowing of wheels 108, 109. In Figure 25A, the axle lock trigger cable 167 attached to the axle lock trigger 164 pulls axle release block 166 (see Figure 26F) back against a compression spring 174 as shown in Figure 25B (see arrow 175) which frees the axle rotation cam 160 to rotate (see arrow 177) as return springs 158 retract and axle rotation cams 160 contact top deck assembly 106. An axle lock secondary cam 171 (Figure 25A) on the axle rotation cam 160 deflects the axle locking mechanism latch 170 out of the axle locking latch slot 176 in the axle lock release block 166 (Figure 25B, 26F) as axle rotation cam 160 rotates as shown in figure 25C. In Figure 25D, stow axles 155 are rotating the wheels 108, 109 inward and the axle locking mechanism latch 170 will come to rest on the top surface of axle lock release block 166 as shown in figure 25D where it will remain ready for re-latching when the wheels are re-deployed. In Figure 25E, stow axles 155 are shown fully rotated and wheels 108, 109 are folded in a stowed position where they are held in place by the retracted force of the return springs 158 and effectively positioning the axle locking mechanism 168 for redeploying the wheels.

[0069] Figures 26A-26F show further elements of the cart 100 involved in rotation of the stow axles 155 and wheels 108, 109 folding and stowage with an emphasis on the wheels stowage. In Figure 25 and in Figure 26A-C, wheel element 109 is shown in the foreground immediately adjacent to the axle locking mechanism 168 to represent how the axle locking mechanism "unlocks" and the axles freely rotate within the axle bearing mounts 172 to stow the wheels inward and upward under top deck assembly 106. In Figures 26D and 26E the operator side wheels 109 are not shown but the front wheel pair 108 are shown indicating their dependency on the same activation and their rotation inward and upward. In Figure 26A, when the top tines 144 of the mount secure coupling 140 seat into the upper tine retention slots 508 of the secure receiver 500 and are constrained from descending further, the undercarriage assembly 107 retracts (or lifts as shown by arrow 178) by force of return springs 158. In Figure 26B, axle rotating cam 160 is also brought into contact with the underside of top deck assembly 106 by the force of return springs 158. It is dependent on the axle lock trigger 164 pulling axle lock trip cable 167 to release axle lock release block 166 (see Figures 25A-25E) freeing stow axle 155 to rotate inside axle bearing mounts 172 (as shown by arrow 179).

Wheels 108, 109 fold up as shown in Figures 26C-26E as a dependent action to the undercarriage assembly 107 being retracted (i.e., ascending) by the tension/pull force of the return springs 158. As the undercarriage assembly 107 ascends the axle rotation cam 160 stays in contact with top deck assembly 106 (as shown in Figures 26C-26E) which rotates the axle 155 inside the axle bearing mounts 172 and folds the wheels 108, 109 up and inward. Figure 26B-26F all depict various stages of this stowing process from the axle rotation cam 160 contacting the underside of top deck assembly 106 and creating rotation of the stow axles 155 as contact continues along the top radius of axle rotation cams 160. As the undercarriage assembly 107 continues to be retracted upward, the stow axle 155 travels through 90 degrees approximate to the horizontal and comes to rest as shown in Figure 26E. This wheel stowage operation is occurring simultaneously on both stow axles 155 and all four wheels 108, 109 although it is only shown depicted on one wheel in Figures 26A-26F.

[0070] Figures 27A-27D show another view of the undercarriage assembly 107 retraction and wheel folding and stowing of the cart 100 during the mounting of the cart 100 onto the vehicle 404. As shown in Figure 27A, the operator pulls hydraulic pump release lever 1 18 to activate hydraulic handle cable 1 17 attached to hydraulic cylinder pump 150 release valve. This action simultaneously lowers the top deck assembly 106 to allow the mount secure coupling 140 to descend on and mount (e.g., secure) to the secure receiver 500 and subsequently allowing for raising of the undercarriage assembly 107. When the mount secure coupling top tines 144 have bottomed onto the radiused edge of the secure receiver 500, the top deck assembly 106 is constrained and the remaining hydraulic cylinder pump 150 pressure is overcome by the return spring 158 tension force. The return springs 158 are shown externally connected to the undercarriage assembly 107 and lift it up (in alternative embodiments the return springs could be internal within the hydraulic cylinder), retracting the undercarriage assembly 107 underneath the top deck assembly 106. As the return springs 158 retract the undercarriage assembly 107 underneath the top deck assembly 106, and with the axle locking mechanism 168 retracted the stow axles 155 are free to rotate inside the axle bearings 172. Further, the bottom surface of the top deck assembly 106 contacts the axle rotation cam 160. This provides a force and path to rotate the stow axles 155 and connected wheels 108, 109 inward and underneath the top deck assembly 106.

Simultaneously, as shown in Figures 27B and 27C, the undercarriage assembly 107 retracts and wheels 108, 109 are turned in and stored allowing proper clearance from the ground for operation of the vehicle 404. In Figure 27D, the cart 100 is safely and securely locked in place, the undercarriage assembly 107 including wheels 108, 109 are retracted and the operator is able to drive the vehicle 404 off.

[0071 ] The discussion will now turn to removing (or demounting) the cart 100 from the vehicle 404. Figures 28A-28F and 29A-29E show the deployment and lock out of the wheels 108, 109 during uncoupling of the cart 100 from the vehicle 404. In Figures 28A and 29A, to uncouple the cart 100 the operator will unlock the secure coupling release lever 1 1 1 , pulling the secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 out of secure coupling lock opening 506 and allowing the cart 100 freedom to rise above the secure receiver 500. As shown in Figures 28B and 28C, the operator will use the hydraulic pump foot pedal 162 to deploy the undercarriage assembly 107. As the hydraulic cylinder pump 150 is pressurized, the scissor arm pairs 152, 154 move along their subframe tracks 156 (as shown in Figures 1 1 and 12) and thereby extending the scissor arm pairs 152, 154 and effectively lowering undercarriage assembly 107 toward the ground. As undercarriage assembly 107 descends, the axle rotation cam 160, the stow axle 155 and wheels 108, 109 will rotate until they reach an approximately ninety degree vertical position as shown in Figure 28D. The axle lock trigger 164 and axle locking mechanism 168 will reset to "locked" and prohibit the stow axles 155 from rotating when undercarriage assembly 107 including wheels 108, 109 are fully extended. The operator will continue to pump the hydraulic pump foot pedal 162 and the top deck assembly 106 will gradually lose contact with the secure receiver 500 as the mount secure coupling top tines 144 and mount secure coupling lower tines 145 of the mount secure coupling 140 rise above the secure receiver 500. The cart 100 is then elevated from the secure receiver 500 and released. The cart 100 is now able to be rolled away as shown in Figure 28E with the secure receiver 500 remaining on the vehicle 404 as shown in Figure 28F.

[0072] Figures 29A-29E show the locking system unlocking and retraction sequence in detail during uncoupling of the cart 100 from the vehicle 404. In Figure 29A, the secure coupling lock assembly 202 is fully "locked" with secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 inside secure coupling lock opening 506. In Figure 29B, secure coupling lock release lever 1 1 1 is "pulled" which causes secure coupling lock connecting rod 200 to extract the secure receiver latch bolt 212 from secure receiver 500 positioned above secure coupling locking catch 216. This allows the secure receiver catch springs 220 to pull the secure coupling locking catch 216 into a secure coupling locking catch slot 215 on the secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 and hold it in a retracted position as shown in Figure 29C. In Figures 29C-D, as cart 100 rises for takeoff from secure receiver 500 the secure coupling lock release 208 slides up the face of the secure receiver 500 along its angular top geometry and out of secure coupling lock opening 506. This begins to slide/push the secure coupling lock release 208 backwards and push the secure coupling locking catch 216 down via the angled bottom surface 209 of the secure coupling lock release 208 (Figure 14). As the cart 100 continues to rise the secure coupling locking catch 216 disengages from the secure coupling locking catch slot 215 in the bottom of secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 freeing it to spring forward from the force of the secure coupling lock latch bolt spring 214 to reset to a fully extended position as shown in Figures 29D and 29E. In Figure 29E, secure coupling lock assembly 202 is fully unlocked and the unlocked secure coupling lock latch bolt 212 is in reset position ready to auto lock upon the next descent of the top deck assembly 106 and mount secure coupling 140 onto the secure receiver 500.

[0073] Figures 30A-30B are cross sectional views of cart 100 and show the elements of the mount secure coupling 140 involved in the stow axle 155 rotation and wheel 108, 109 unfolding and unstowing. Figure 30A shows axle lock trigger 164 inside the mount secure coupling 140 as the top deck assembly 106 rises. Figure 30B illustrates that as the cart 100 lifts off the secure receiver 500, the axle lock trigger 164 is pushed inward and a connected cable 167 is pulled (as shown by arrow 180) through a 1 -into-2 cable splitter 165 (see Figure 32). This action releases the axle lock release block 166

(shown in Figures 31A-31 D) freeing each stow axles 155 to rotate inside axle bearing mounts 172.

[0074] Figures 31A-31 D illustrate a perspective view of deployment of the wheels 108, 109 during uncoupling of the cart 100 from the vehicle 404. As an independent action, the operator pulls secure coupling lock release lever 1 1 1 to allow cart 100 to be uncoupled from secure receiver 500. As a next step, the operator then begins to pump the hydraulic foot pump pedal 162 and the hydraulic cylinder pump 150 will build pressure and force the return springs 158 and scissor arm pairs 152, 154 to extend which will move the undercarriage assembly 107 downward toward the ground. This action allows axle rotation cams 160 to rotate about the bottom surface of top deck assembly 106 until fully losing contact with the top deck assembly 106 and allows gravity force of wheels 108, 109 and force of tension springs 174 (Figure 31 C) to assist rotation of stow axles 155 (see arrow 181 ) inside axle bearing mounts 172 back to substantially vertical and engaging axle locking mechanism latch 170 into axle locking latch slot 176 on axle lock release block 166 of axle locking mechanism 168. Stow axles 155 are now locked (Figure 31 D) with the wheels 108, 109 fully extended and ready to roll.

[0075] Figure 32 is bottom view of the cart 100 showing the operation of the hydraulic pump release lever 1 18, hydraulic release cable 1 17 and axle lock trigger cable 167. The axle lock trigger cable 167 splits into first axle lock trigger cable split 167a and second axle lock trigger cable split 167b. Hydraulic release cable 1 17 connects hydraulic pump release lever 1 18 directly to a hydraulic pump 150 release valve to release pressure when pulled by operator. Axle lock trigger cable 167 connects axle lock trigger 164 to axle lock 1 -to-2 cable splitter 165. When cart 100 descends onto secure receiver 500, axle lock trigger 164 deflects and pulls axle lock trigger cable 167. At axle lock 1 -to-2 cable splitter 165, the axle lock trigger cable 167 splits into first axle lock trigger cable split 167a and second axle trigger cable split 167b which connect to axle locking mechanisms 168 to unlock stow axles 155.

[0076] Figures 33-37 are views of an alternative embodiment of the undercarriage assembly. Figure 33 is top view of an alternative embodiment of the undercarriage assembly showing a linear actuator 600 and a battery receiver 602. Electro-mechanical actuators are similar to mechanical actuators (e.g., hydraulic cylinder pump 150) except that the source of power/leverage is replaced with an electric motor. Rotary motion of the motor is converted to linear displacement. The following is a description of the electro-mechanical linear actuator 600 used in this alternative embodiment. An electric motor is mechanically connected to rotate a lead screw. A lead screw has a continuous helical thread machined on its circumference running along the length (similar to the thread on a bolt). Threaded onto the lead screw is a lead nut or ball nut with

corresponding helical threads. The nut is prevented from rotating with the lead screw (the nut interlocks with a non-rotating part of the actuator body). Therefore, when the lead screw is rotated, the nut will be driven along the threads. The direction of motion of the nut depends on the direction of rotation of the lead screw. By connecting linkages to the nut, the motion can be converted to usable linear displacement. There are many types of motors that can be used in linear actuator 600. These include DC brush, DC brushless, stepper, or in some cases, even induction motors. The linear actuator 600 will commonly have the motor as a separate cylinder attached to the side of the linear actuator 600, either parallel with the actuator or perpendicular to the actuator. In this disclosure, a battery powered (DC) linear actuator 600 with the motor 601 attached to the side in parallel is used. In this embodiment, the linear motion of the hydraulic actuator is replaced by the electro-mechanical linear actuator with internal lead screw. The DC motor 601 replaces the need for the foot pump 162, and since the linear motion is controlled in both extension and retraction the external return springs 158 can be eliminated in this alternative embodiment (i.e., the powered retraction cycle acts as a hydraulic cylinder would with an internal return spring). Moreover, the axle locking mechanisms 168 in their entirety are eliminated as the linear actuator are controlled to specific stop points through limit or proximity switches. A limit or proximity switch replaces the axle lock trigger 164 to indicate coupling of cart 100 to secure receiver 500 is complete, and allow the full undercarriage assembly 107 retraction and stowing cycle for stow axles 155 and wheels 108, 109. Stow axles 155 are free to rotate within axle bearing mounts 172, but constrained rigid in any location including extended and vertical deployment by direct attachment to the linear actuator lead screw of the linear actuator 600. Figure 34 shows a battery 604 (e.g., 12 volts) in relation to the battery receiver 602. Figure 35 shows the first and second scissor arm pairs 152, 154 extended to lift the top deck assembly 106. Figure 36 shows the first and second scissor arm pairs 152, 154 retracted to lower the top deck assembly. Figure 37 is an elongated view cutaway with battery 604 shown.

[0077] Figures 38A-38D show the depression of switch 606 to lower first and second scissor arm pairs 152, 154 for the mount secure coupling 140 to dock into secure receiver 500. In Figure 38A a toggle or rocker switch 606 (e.g., double pole, double throw rocker switches with momentary on) in "neutral/stop" position is shown and correspondingly in Figure 38B the mount secure coupling 140 is substantially aligned and prepared to descend onto the secure receiver 500. In Figure 38C, switch 606 is depressed to descend the mount secure coupling 140 and retract the undercarriage assembly 107 into the top deck assembly. As shown in Figure 38D, upon safe seating of the mount secure coupling 140 into the secure receiver 500, a proximity or limit switch would sense/indicate or make contact (indicating safe to continue) to allow the linear actuator 600 to continue to travel to full retraction.

[0078] Figures 39A to 39C depict the continuation of the retraction of the

undercarriage assembly 107 by power of the linear actuator 600 as it travels to home position. The stow axles 155 freely rotating in their axle bearing mounts 172 and rotate when the axle rotation cam 160 contacts the underside of the top deck assembly (as like the first embodiment) folding the wheels 108, 109 up and in.

[0079] Figures 40A-40D shows depression of toggle switch to deploy undercarriage assembly 107 and wheels 108, 109. Figure 40A shows the switch 606 in a neutral position with the cart 100 mounted on the vehicle 404 as shown in Figure 40B. In Figure 40C, the switch 606 has been depressed and when energizing the switch in this direction the linear actuator 600 shaft will extend pushing the scissor pairs 152, 154 in the tracks and extending the undercarriage assembly 107 down. The stow axles 155 will rotate down till the wheels 108, 109 are vertical and ready to contact the road surface. Continuing to depress the switch will continue to extend the linear actuator 600 shaft and scissor arm pairs 152, 154 until the top deck assembly 106 ascends above the secure receiver 500 and the cart 100 can be rolled away.

[0080] Figures 41A-41 C show another alternative embodiment of the cart 100 with the secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 having an associated key lock 1 13 to prevent the secure coupling lock release lever 1 1 1 from leaving a locked position when the key lock 1 13 is also locked. This will provide security to prevent someone from taking the cart 100 without permission. The secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 shown in Figure 41 A is key locked and secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 locked. Figure 41 B is key unlocked and secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 unlocked. Figure 41 C is key unlocked and secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 unlocked which would allow cart 100 to be removed from secure receiver 500.

[0081 ] Figures 42A-42C shows an alternative embodiment of the secure receiver 500 with a sliding shim 700 attached directly to the load bar extender 406 (see Figures 17 and 18). As shown in Figure 42A the sliding or rotational shim is attached to the load bar extender 406 through a fastener mechanism 702 such as a screw (as shown) or a rivet, or similar. Figure 42B is a side view of the shim 700 mounted on the load bar extender 406. Sliding and rotating shim 700 adds rigidity and prevents wobbling of the secure receiver 500 and therefore the cart 100 when it is attached to a vehicle 404. Sliding and rotating shim 700 is capable of sliding back and forth along shim slot 703 or rotating about its fastener to conveniently insert or remove to and from a vehicle mounted hitch receiver 400 (see Figure 15) to take up tolerance gap between the mating parts and minimize unwanted play or wobble. Shim grip 704 allows for easy hand location and moving of the sliding and rotating shim 700 into the gap between the mating surfaces of the load bar extender 406 and the hitch receiver 400. Figure 42C is a bottom view of sliding and rotating shim 700 inserted between the load bar extender 406 and hitch receiver 400.

[0082] Figure 43 shows another alternative embodiment of the cart 100 which operates through manual lift on and off of the cart 100 and mount secure coupling 140 to the secure receiver 500. The coupling of the mount secure coupling 140 to the secure receiver 500 is accomplished in the same way as described above but without the assistance of the hydraulic cylinder pump or linear actuator. In this embodiment, the top deck assembly 106 is manually maneuvered into place by an operator (or a plurality of operators depending on the weight of the load). This alternative embodiment of the cart 100 is lower cost and lighter weight, and may or may not have wheels

[0083] Figure 44A-44E show another alternative embodiment of the cart with manual wheel (108, 109) folding. Fold down handle 800 is capable of being unlatched and dropped down approximately ninety degrees until in line with a pair of nesting tubes 802. Pins attached to the fold down handle 800 and protruding through nesting tube 802 will travel along a spiral barrel cam mechanism 804 cut into the wheel mounts. As the fold down handle 800 is pushed in, the travel of the pins through the spiral groove of the barrel cam will cause the nesting tube 802 and attached wheel mounts to rotate thereby causing the wheels to fold up. Arrow 806 in Figure 44B shows fold down and push in fold down handle 800 into nesting tubes 802. Figure 44C is a perspective view. Figure 44D is a top view of undercarriage assembly showing barrel cams and nesting tubes. Figure 44E shows fold down handle pushed in and wheels 108, 109 folded up.

[0084] Figures 45A-45C illustrate an alternative embodiment of the cart 100 showing the top deck assembly 106 having a bicycle deck 123 configured to carry a load of bicycles. This embodiment has the ability to mount and/or attach many accessories including cargo boxes, bike racks, ski containers, and the like. Attachment mechanisms would include thumb screws, lever locks, quick release latches and the like. Figures 45B and 45C show a universal dock surface with attachment mechanisms like grooves, t-slots, contours. Also, along perimeter surface of frame of cart 100. Combinations of accessories possible such as boxes, containers and racks, baskets, and the like.

[0085] Figures 46A to 46B show an alternative embodiment of the secure receiver 500 having a different configurations. In Figure 46A, a round bar element 510 at upper tine retention slots 508 functions to improve self alignment of mount secure coupling top tines 144 when coupling (i.e., upon descent of top deck assembly 106). This also results in reduction of friction and better engagement seating for the mount secure coupling 140 upon mounting of the cart 100. Figure 46B illustrates a leveling pin 512 with self contained leveling adjustment roller 512 and set screw 514. Set screw 514 is threaded into leveling adjustment roller 512 which is retained in angled adjustment slot 515 by retention snap rings 516 or similar shoulder bolt and cotter pin. When the secure receiver 500 is fastened to a load bar extender 406 the set screw 514 can be tightened which will draw the leveling adjustment roller 512 upward following the path of the angled slot 151 and along the face of the load bar to take up tolerance between the fasteners and the fastener holes in both the secure receiver 500 and the load bar extender 406 to effectively rotate the secure receiver 500 to level and plumb.

[0086] Figure 47A is a flowchart outlining the method of mounting the cart 100 to a vehicle. In step 900, the cart 100 is rolled up to the vehicle. In step 902, the mount secure coupling 140 is aligned directly above the secure receiver 500. In step 904, the mount secure coupling 140 is lowered onto the secure receiver 500 by the hydraulic cylinder pump 150, linear actuator 600 or manually by the operator (depending on the embodiment). In step 906, the undercarriage assembly 107 is retracted along with the wheels 108, 108 which are stowed under the top deck assembly 106. In step 908, the mount secure coupling 140 is locked to the secure receiver 500. In step 910, the vehicle drives off with the cart 100 acting as a carrier.

[0087] Figure 47B is a flowchart outlining the method of demounting the cart 100 from a vehicle. In step 912, the secure coupling lock release lever assembly 1 10 is unlocked by the operator. In step 914, the undercarriage assembly 107 is extended and the wheels 108, 109 are unlocked. In step 916, the mount secure coupling 140 is raised above the secure receiver 500 by the hydraulic cylinder pump 150, linear actuator 600 or manually by the operator (again depending on the embodiment). In step 918, the cart is rolled way by the operator.

[0088] Advantages of all or some the embodiments disclosed herein include the following. First, there is ease of use since the attachment of the cart 100 allows for secure receiver coupling and clearance without lifting for any height receiver or ground terrain. Second, there is no vehicle tailgate obstruction when not in use. Third, there is no need to fold up since the operator can simply take off and roll away and utilize away and unattached from the vehicle unlike current available rooftop or secure receiver mounted baskets or cargo boxes. Fourth, the cart 100 is easy to store when not in use.

[0089] Loads 120 carried by the cart 100 may include grills, coolers, tool chests, workbench, and the like and also serve in the capacity of a lift table and work surface. [0090] The foregoing embodiments are presently by way of example only; the scope of the present disclosure is to be limited only by the following claims.

[0091 ] The methods, systems, and devices discussed above are examples. Various embodiments may omit, substitute, or add various procedures or components as appropriate. For instance, in alternative configurations, the methods described may be performed in an order different from that described, and/or various stages may be added, omitted, and/or combined. Also, features described with respect to certain embodiments may be combined in various other embodiments. Different aspects and elements of the embodiments may be combined in a similar manner. Also, technology evolves and, thus, many of the elements are examples that do not limit the scope of the disclosure to those specific examples.

[0092] Specific details are given in the description to provide a thorough

understanding of the embodiments. However, embodiments may be practiced without these specific details. For example, well-known processes, structures, and techniques have been shown without unnecessary detail in order to avoid obscuring the

embodiments. This description provides example embodiments only, and is not intended to limit the scope, applicability, or configuration of the invention. Rather, the preceding description of the embodiments will provide those skilled in the art with an enabling description for implementing embodiments of the invention. Various changes may be made in the function and arrangement of elements without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

[0093] Also, some embodiments were described as processes. Although these processes may describe the operations as a sequential process, many of the operations can be performed in parallel or concurrently. In addition, the order of the operations may be rearranged. A process may have additional steps not included in the figures. Also, a number of steps may be undertaken before, during, or after the above elements are considered.

[0094] Having described several embodiments, various modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents may be used without departing from the spirit of the disclosure. For example, the above elements may merely be a component of a larger system, wherein other rules may take precedence over or otherwise modify the application of the invention. Accordingly, the above description does not limit the scope of the disclosure.

[0095] The foregoing has outlined rather broadly features and technical advantages of examples in order that the detailed description that follows can be better understood. Additional features and advantages will be described hereinafter. The conception and specific examples disclosed can be readily utilized as a basis for modifying or designing other structures for carrying out the same purposes of the present disclosure. Such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the appended claims. Features which are believed to be feature of the concepts disclosed herein, both as to their organization and method of operation, together with associated advantages, will be better understood from the following description when considered in connection with the accompanying figures. Each of the figures is provided for the purpose of illustration and description only and not as a definition of the limits of the claims.